Today we are going to talk about Hepatitis C.
As you know, there are different types of hepatitis but today we will talk about hepatitis C virus which is considered as a possible sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Yes, yes! You heard us… Hepatitis C can be sexually transmitted even if your doctor does not test you for hepatitis C every time you check for other STTBIs…
To sum up hepatitis C in one sentence: it is a virus that attacks the liver which is an essential organ for the proper functioning of your body. Hepatitis C virus gets into the blood through breaks in the skin or in the lining of the nose and mouth. Note that dried blood can also pass the virus.
The virus can be passed in different ways: for example, it can be passed through sharing equipment such as razors, nail clippers, needles, syringes, or other equipment used to prepare and inject drugs. The virus can also be transmitted if you have sex where blood might be present.
Okay, now the good news is that Hepatitis C can be cured!
However, if someone doesn’t clear the virus after six months, there is a risk of a chronic hepatitis C infection. Note that the hepatitis C virus can be cleared from the body on its own or with medication.
In all cases, the only way to know if you have hepatitis C is to get tested and to talk to your nurse or doctor about your treatment options.
Treatment comes in pill form, has few side effects, and is usually taken for eight or 12 weeks. For most people, the cost of treatment is covered through public health insurance plans (provincial, territorial, or federal). Long live accessible health care!
It is possible that private insurance plans may also cover the cost of treatment.
There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C infection but there are ways to prevent it. For example, you can use your own new equipment if you use drugs. Don’t use drugs alone and always carry naloxone. Remember that at MAX we can get you certified with our Free Naloxone Training. Use condoms and lots and lots and lots of lube during sexual activities that have higher chances of hepatitis C transmission. Finally, get tested to know your hepatitis C status.